As Alexander Pope once said, “a little learning is a dangerous thing”. And this is precisely why the people behind The Real Singapore (TRS) continue to be at the fringe of Singapore politics as no credible opposition party would ever want them within their ranks.
Lies by The Real Singapore about S&CC Grants
In their latest series of attacks on the Government, TRS has purportedly found evidence to prove that the Government is “fixing” the Worker’s Party (WP). TRS asserts that based on their “research”, AHPETC which has an electoral base of 202,326 only receives $7.27 million in S&CC grants, while the smaller Tanjong Pagar which has an electoral base of 137,464 received $13.45 million.
What TRS did not know (or deliberately chose not to know), is that S&CC grants are based on the number of HDB flats and flat types and not on the number of people living in the electoral boundary. Simple logic will tell you that S&CC grants, meant to help ease the financial burdens of citizens living in HDBs, cannot be based on the number of people but on the number of homes it is meant to subsidize. The Real Singapore would have known if they had been as meticulous about gathering facts as they were about attacking the Government. In fact, all this information about how S&CC grants are allocated is readily available atwww.towncouncil.sg
For the quick reference of our readers, the following is an extract from the website …
“The annual operating grant, also known as S&CC grant, is allocated to Town Councils based on the number of HDB flat units and the flat types. Smaller flat types get higher grants. The grant enables TCs to subsidise the S&CC for residents living in 4-room and smaller flats, with more being allocated for 1-room ($33.70 per month), 2-room ($26.20 per month) and 3-room ($17.00 per month) households. The grant for each 4-room household is $9 per month.”
Based on the above rates (which have remained constant both before and after the lost of the Aljunied GRC to the WP, AHPETC’s grants are lower simply because they (a) manage fewer HDB flat units than Tanjong Pagar Town Council, and (b) have the lowest proportion of 3R or smaller flats amongst the Town Councils mentioned in TRS Facebook 18 November 2014's post.
It will surprise TRS to learn that the PAP does play by the rules and there is no conspiracy to fix the Worker’s Party. In fact, if the PAP was fixing the Worker’s Party, why is Sylvia Lim or Low Thia Khiang not challenging the Government on the amount of S&CC grants they are receiving? If the WP, as the true voice of the opposition, have not cried foul, why would the self-appointed political wannabes do so? Perhaps, the WP’s silence means that there is no basis to the wild accusations that the likes of The Real Singapore is making.
Real Matter at Hand – Management of Public Funds
In fact, as the AHPETC’s annual S&CC income has remained largely unchanged (without factoring S&CC arrears), AHPETC’s annual expenditure has clearly risen sharply. This means that AHPETC has spent more in FY12 compared to FY10.
While higher expenditure is not necessarily a bad thing, if the Town Council can live within their means, the increase in expenditure must result in better service. Unfortunately, one only needs to look around AHPETC and one can see that it has not.
If higher S&CC has not resulted in better service, then the question is whether the higher expenditure was a result of overpaying the Managing Agent (MA). From what has been widely reported and acknowledge by the Worker's Party, the MA for AHPETC is being paid close to 3 times what PAP's MA are being paid.
In short, AHPETC's higher expenditure has nothing to do with the transfer of the accumulated surplus. The real matter at hand, is how AHPETC has managed the public funds it has access to, and whether there has been any criminal breach of financial responsibilities.